March of the Sequels – Joanna Maciejewska

Welcome to March of the Sequels Joanna!

First of all tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel.

Pacts Arcane and Otherwise is an epic fantasy adventure following two friends, arcanist Kamira and mage killer Veelk, who have to find a way to free a powerful demon from his imprisonment. In book 2, Scars of Stone, they continue their efforts to do so, making new, sometimes unexpected friends and trying to outsmart their foes.

Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is?

It’s hard to say, since I’m still at the stage of finding my readers—depending on the size of their TBRs, some people who picked up By the Pact might not have gotten to reading it yet. I do have some fans of the series, though. Why? I think that comes from enjoying what my first book offers: the non-romance relationship between the two characters, friendly banter, solid character motivations and backgrounds, and multi-faceted intrigue tying the world’s different factions in the struggle for power and victory. All that with a little bit of humor sprinkled in the dialogues.

Is it easier to further develop characters you’ve already written in book one?

Even though the idea for a character and how they’ll change comes before the story, it’s definitely easier to flesh out the details later in the series. After all, with each book, I understand my characters better, having put them in specific situations and thought in-depth what their reactions would be, just like we know people better when we hear about their experiences or spend time with them.

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships?

I found it easy enough to add some characters and weave their side plots with the main storyline. They were all needed—and thus partially planned already—as the plot progressed, revealing new aspects of the world and the intrigue. On the other hand, if I wanted to add an entirely new character, that might be a bit trickier, depending on their background and affiliations. I did it a few times, as their presence tied some subplots together, and managed to work them in to be a part of the setting.

Is it difficult to continue with worldbuilding for a world you have already built in book 1?  Do you find it easier to switch locations for the sequel and start again with worldbuilding?

Since Pacts Arcane and Otherwise is not a series of standalones that they could be read out of order, all my world building was set from the beginning. Not all of it was fully fleshed out, but all the key elements were there as the world’s geography, politics, and history impact the storyline. All I had to do was enhance and develop those elements further when they came into play. Of course, the more detailed pieces of worldbuilding to come, the more challenging it can be to make them work together nicely.

Have you ever been stymied by a worldbuilding or plot detail from book 1 that is very inconvenient to deal with or write your way around in subsequent books?

Since all my key pieces of worldbuilding had been there from the start, I don’t have to worry about things like “and now, suddenly, there are giants, and I have to explain how nobody had ever seen them in the mountains”. Some things might not be revealed to the reader yet, but they’re already part of the world.

Did you notice your craft improving from book 1 to subsequent books in a series, and if so, how?

That’s a difficult question, because of the story behind Pacts Arcane and Otherwise. When I first wrote the first installment, it contained the story that is now told in book 1 and book 2. Then I wrote a couple of other books, and yes, my craft improved as I experimented with styles and storytelling techniques. Then, when I decided to split the first instalment into 2 books, heavily rewriting both, I approached that task with better writing skills, but since I worked on those two books immediately one after the other, there wasn’t much space for an actual improvement between them.

Do you plan out the entire series at once or one book at a time? 

It depends on the series. In case of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise, the entire series’ storyline was planned from the beginning, though I didn’t expect I’ll need four books instead of two to tell it. The four books will wrap up the story, and even though I have some ideas for a possible continuation, I’d likely write it as another series. In other cases, I work on standalones, having in mind possible sequels, but once the work on the sequel starts, the planning starts reaching beyond book 2, as I like continuity of my settings and stories.

Do you try to make sequels readable as standalones or do you design a series so that readers have to read the whole thing? 

Pacts Arcane and Otherwise is definitely a series that you have to read in order. The four books feature one story of epic scope, and even though each book comes to a natural stopping point in the story, the next book picks it up without recaps or introductions.

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?

Not for the sequels that continue the story from the first book. Since reading them without knowing what happened beforewould severely impact the reading experience, I simply try toensure that those, who became fans know that sequels are available. This includes links at the end of book 1, a series page on my website where everyone can check information about each of the books, their release date, and reading order, and an occasional social media post to remind my readers there’s more than By the Pact out, if they missed the releases of the subsequent books. If the sequels are standalone books, linked only by the setting and some of the characters, I suppose all marketing tips for the first books would apply.

Amazon | goodreads


About the Author

Joanna might be a bit too cautious to do anything even remotely daring or dangerous herself, so she writes about daring adventures and dangerous magic instead. Yet, she found enough courage to abandon her life in Poland and move to Ireland, and then some years later, she abandoned her life in Ireland to move over to the US. She’s determined to settle there, once she finally chooses which state to reside in.

When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she plays video games or makes amateur art. She lives the happy life of a recluse, surrounded by her husband, a stuffed red monkey, and a small collection of books she insisted on hauling across two continents.

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3 thoughts on “March of the Sequels – Joanna Maciejewska

  1. Pingback: March of the Sequels Hub | Sue's Musings

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